Philosophy Personal Statement

I have felt the pull of deep philosophical questions since I first began debating Philosophy in classes at college. During the debates, I discovered I was particularly suited to Philosophy on account of my analytical acumen and uncommon intellectual humility. However, I became dissatisfied with the lack of rigour and devotion to truth in the discussions and consequently decided to pursue my philosophical interests through my own personal reading and study. The result of my private study was a love of Philosophy of Mind and Neuroscience and I consequently decided that I wish to become a research assistant in a Neuroscience department.  To fulfil my ambition, I plan to study Philosophy so that I may gain the requisite philosophical sophistication to tackle philosophical issues in my future work. Despite my being aware that I possessed an uncommon natural intelligence, I was not much interested in my school work until rather late. I excelled in the Philosophy debates of the AS Level, and the strength of my arguments led to lengthy one-on-one discussions between me and my teacher who recognised my philosophical gifts and sympathised with my frustration with the syllabus, which contained, to my mind, too many mistaken and misconceived arguments and theories that failed to challenge me.

Although my chief interests are philosophical, at college I did also enjoy the challenge of A-Level Computing, which helped develop my logical reasoning skills, while A-Level Economics also gave me a greater understanding of how theories are formed on the basis of empirical evidence, an understanding which should stand me in great stead for the Philosophy of Science part of the degree, which I particularly look forward to studying, given my ambition.

Outside of the classroom, I have been preparing myself for the degree through intense reading of philosophical and scientific literature, especially works that bridge the divide between Neuroscience and Philosophy of Mind, which I especially look forward to taking on the degree. I am a great fan of the philosophical works of the physicist and philosopher David Deutsch and the linguist Steven Pinker, from whom I have learned a great deal about how language can reveal the secrets of human thought.

I have developed some of the necessary personal qualities for scientific and philosophical research through my wide-ranging work experience. I began work as a kitchen porter a few years ago, where my work ethic and appetite for responsibility resulted in my quickly being entrusted with great responsibility as a night porter. Most recently, I have worked as a waiter and bar manager, waiting tables and dealing with customer enquiries and complaints. The work calls for quick thinking and preternatural calm, ideal qualities for a philosopher.

I have also lived and worked abroad, where I learned how to live independently as well as to provide for others, which gave me a less solipsistic perspective on life. Looking after children as a classroom assistant in a primary school also taught me how to communicate ideas clearly and simply, although the experience convinced me that I wish to be a researcher and not a teacher.

In my spare time, when not reading philosophical literature, I love to teach myself computer programs and I am currently taking a course on Cisco Systems. I am an avid player of tabletop games and I run the youth division of the local tabletop gaming club, where I teach and manage youngsters. I should like to create and manage a tabletop gaming club when I arrive at university.

I am intent on taking advantage of every opportunity I shall be offered at university. For the privilege of a university education was not available to my parents in their youth. So I feel duty bound to do all I can to excel on the course in order to realise my dream of becoming a researcher in Neuroscience and the Philosophy of Mind.